The Department of Basic Education (DBE) can confirm that a circular has been issued to schools instructing them to administer the Annual National Assessments at a time that is convenient for them to do so between the 26th of November 2015 and the 4th of December 2015.
This comes after a mediation process between the DBE and teacher trade unions did not culminate in an agreement being signed.
The mediation process which took place over the course of 31 meetings concluded with a draft agreement on 19 November 2015 and had to be considered by the principals of those parties involved for signature on 23 November 2015. The CEM welcomed and accepted all the aspects of the draft agreement except for making the administration of ANA voluntary. Unions insisted on this while on the other hand CEM was of the view that this constituted such a fundamental difference that it collapsed the draft agreement. The DBE could not agree to this term.
The Minister of Basic Education did not walk away from the mediation process. On Friday last week the DBE was ready to sign the draft agreement which would have seen only 2100 schools writing the assessments, however at that point the new condition of voluntary participation was insisted upon and the mediation process was jeopardized.
It is our considered view that the mediation process went well overall and we would like to appreciate the role played by all stakeholders and in particular the mediator, Mr Charles Nupen.
It must be clearly articulated that the mediation process was entered into as a means to ensure peace and stability in the sector. The administration of ANA is a curriculum issue not a labour issue, however after meeting with various stakeholders in the sector the Minister felt it best to try to reach consensus with our teacher trade unions on this matter in a bid to find an amicable solution to the impasse. It is unfortunate that no agreement could be reached through the mediation process.
These assessments are an important diagnostic tool used to identify and remediate challenges in the sector. We have agreed with teacher unions that there is a need to reform the current model of the assessments and have invited teacher unions to work with the Department to make recommendations based on their experiences in this regard.
The DBE will be making no further comments on this issue as we do not wish to engage in a public spat with teacher trade unions.
Enquiries: Elijah Mhlanga – 083 580 8275
: Troy Martens – 079 899 3070